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I love it when other people are as immature as I am…

December 30, 2022, 9:00 AM

On our most recent trip down to the Staunton area, where I got some update photos for Staunton Mall, among other things, we got an unexpected follow-up to something that we had done on a whim in the New Street garage in downtown Staunton on our September trip, which is where we park when we stay at Hotel 24 South, and then subsequently forgot about.  Like many public parking garages, you occasionally find vehicles in there being stored long-term, or sometimes outright abandoned, such as this red Mitsubishi that we spotted in December 2020, which was wearing a thick layer of dirt (it’s since been moved).

More recently, a white Range Rover with an expired North Carolina plate on the second level of the New Street garage was one of those cases, with its having been in its space for a long enough time to be wearing a thick layer of dust and dirt.  So in September, as we were leaving the New Street garage on the last day of our trip, I had an idea.  I stopped the HR-V in front of it, got a napkin, wet the napkin a little bit, and then had a moment of fun with it, writing a message on the windshield.

(Be advised: some of the photos below this point depict somewhat crude humor that is not necessarily “safe for work”, so be judicious about where you are when you read this.)

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Categories: Staunton, Woomy

You’re taking me for a ride…

December 23, 2022, 12:57 PM

On Friday, November 18, Elyse and I went out to Ashburn for a ride on the new Silver Line extension.  This was the conclusion of a long-awaited public works project, bringing the Metro Silver Line out to its intended western terminus in Ashburn, Virginia.  You may recall that I did a similar adventure with my friend Matthew on the Silver Line when it opened in 2014.  I couldn’t attend the opening day events because I had to work, but Elyse did.  She managed to get a ticket to the VIP event by asking nicely, much like I did in 2014, and she had a blast.  She got to meet Metro General Manager Randy Clarke, and even got to sound the horn on a 7000-Series railcar.

For this adventure, our day started out with an open house event at the Dulles rail yard, which guided our plans to an extent.  Driving over, we listened to “Escapee” by Architecture in Helsinki, which Metro had used for a promotional video for the opening of the first part of the Silver Line.  For the first ride on the extension, that seemed fitting.  At Dulles yard, we got a tour of the new facility and had a catered lunch.  The new facility was quite nice, and we both commented that it looked more like a community college building than a train depot.  Lunch was from Panera, we got Silver Line t-shirts, I got my Silver Line pennant to go with the one from 2014, and we also got a special Silver Line cookie:

One of the Silver Line cookies. They tasted as good as they looked, too!

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And there are the auction photos…

December 21, 2022, 5:24 PM

There are times when I wish that I was not as well-versed in what happens to a car after a total loss, but after losing my old Kia Soul in a fire in February 2018, and then losing the HR-V in October, here we are.  I am experienced in losing cars through no fault of my own, though I admit that it does make the process a bit easier for everyone when the client is already familiar with the process.  In this case, I knew that eventually, my car would end up on an auto auction site, just like the Soul did.  And today, after searching the HR-V’s VIN in Google, I finally turned it up.  So here is what will probably be the last group of photos that we will ever see of my HR-V, from IAAI:

The right side of the HR-V looks like nothing is wrong.

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Categories: Honda HR-V (2018), New car

Lots and lots of rubble…

December 21, 2022, 10:54 AM

You may remember that in my last Staunton Mall update, I said, speaking of the mall as it might appear in December, “I would not be surprised if the demolition was complete by then, and we’re looking at an empty slab plus Belk at that time.  I suppose that we’ll all find out together whether I’m right or not.”  Now that the December trip down that way is over with, I can say that I was not correct.  The demolition has certainly progressed, but as of December 16, the work is still by no means complete, though there is now more rubble than there is intact structure.

For this update, I once again did a flyover of the mall with the drone to get both overview and detailed shots of the former Staunton Mall.  I started with the overview:

Overview of Staunton Mall, facing southeast.

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You made your bed, and now you have to lie in it…

December 9, 2022, 12:56 PM

Lately, a lot of the DMCA takedown notices that I’ve filed have been for “nostalgia” pages on Facebook.  In other words, those pages where people find photos around the Internet of stuff from a given period and then repost them with no permission, no attribution, or anything else.  I don’t typically frequent these types of pages myself, but others who are familiar with my work will usually let me know when they spot one of my photos being used in an unauthorized manner.  When I’m notified, I will go in and locate it, and then I’ll get all of my ducks in a row before I complete the DMCA form and submit it.  And then, unsurprisingly, the people who get nailed get a little salty about it, while never considering for a moment that they may have had a lapse in judgment somewhere.

Two recent instances of this stand out in my mind.  The first was for a nostalgia group that focused on the 2000s.  In that case, I found a number of photos from my Journal entry about the 2005 remodel of the Walmart in Lexington, Virginia.  For that, I had to submit multiple takedown notices in order to cover the various photos that were included, but I got it done.  Two days later, I received confirmation from Facebook that the photos were removed.  A few hours later, I heard back from the infringer, a woman named Darla Griffin, who was clearly unhappy about the situation that they now found themselves in.  Like many infringers, they wrote me to complain, while attempting to verbally lick their own wounds after they got caught.

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The taming of the stroad?

December 1, 2022, 10:00 AM

About three weeks after the accident that claimed my HR-V, I read on The MoCo Show about another accident that occurred on the same stretch of road at Russell Avenue, a block away from where my accident happened, that looked very similar to mine.  Additionally, I remember an accident that occurred at the same intersection as mine in May 2020 that Elyse and I encountered while we were out and called in to 911.  Taken together, it tells me that Montgomery Village Avenue (MD 124) between Interstate 270 and Midcounty Highway is a poorly designed road that probably needs to be rethought and redesigned in order to increase safety along that stretch.

For those not familiar, Montgomery Village Avenue, along with quite a number of other roads in Montgomery County, is what is often referred to as a “stroad“.  Wikipedia defines a stroad as “a type of thoroughfare that is a mix between a street and a road”, and the word itself is a combination of the words “street” and “road”.  Basically, it’s a road that wants to function as a local city street and as a major highway all at once, and often fails at both roles.  These roads are typically designed for relatively high speeds, but their functioning as a city street with pedestrians and so many private accesses means that the posted speed limits are typically well below the road’s design speed.  Do you remember that Journal entry that I wrote in 2013 about people who were getting run over at bus stops in Montgomery County?  All of the streets in question were stroads.  Georgia Avenue in particular is the textbook definition of a stroad, being a six-lane divided highway with private access, including single-family residential, directly off of the main road from Silver Spring to all the way to Olney.  The speed limit for much of that road is 35 mph from Silver Spring to Leisure World, with a posted speed of 25 mph through Wheaton.  I speak from experience from ten years’ time living just off of Georgia Avenue that it is very difficult to maintain that speed limit when traffic is moving well, and I often found myself exceeding the speed limit without realizing it and then having to slow down once I do notice.  That’s because the road is designed for much higher speeds than traffic is actually allowed to go, and people tend to drive in a way that befits the road design, especially during off hours.  They say that if you can speed on a road and not realize it, and not feel that your higher-than-allowed speed is actually dangerous, then the speed limit is too low for the design of the road.  In other words, the usual go-to argument of, “LoWeR aLl ThE sPeEd LiMiTs!” is a major non-starter for me, if because the speed limit was already too low for the design of the road, and people weren’t following it anyway, what’s the point of lowering it further?  They weren’t following it when it was 35, so what makes you think that they’re going to follow it at 25?  I also find the way that people are so quick to blame drivers 100% for accidents to be problematic, because the design of the road can also be a legitimate contributing factor to accidents, such as roads that are designed for much higher speeds than anyone probably ought to drive.  It’s kind of like how the “no u-turn” sign is often a symptom of poor road design, because with a better-designed road, you wouldn’t need signage that disallows obvious and mostly reasonable moves to get around the poor road design.

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